Questions about steam locos + decals...

Discussion in 'General' started by BigRedCaboose, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. BigRedCaboose

    BigRedCaboose Member

    Hi, all!

    I'm trying to model after the Frisco steam era, but I've been having some difficulty finding some decals + clear information about some brass models. I suppose the thing that got me the want to model after the SLSF steam era is because I ordered a Roundhouse 3-window wooden caboose from MTS when they were discontinued, and it looks pretty close to the real thing, which is fine with me (I acknowledge that my future models may not be 100% accurate but as long as it just looks like something from the Frisco, I'm satisfied). So now that I have a decent caboose to model after freight trains, I just need an engine.

    I've been keeping a sharp eye at for some decently priced steamers, and a few has popped up on their site that has grabbed my attention. The three models that are currently available (which is most definitely subject to change) are:
    • Overland Models Frisco #4400-#4422 class 4-8-2 Mountain
    • PFM United Frisco 2-10-0 Decapod
    • Hallmark Models Frisco #4200 Class mikado*
    Does anyone have any experience with one of these models? I plan on adding DCC + sound + lights to either of them, and I will be more than willing to paint and letter them (getting to that later). I'm still researching on which paint would be the best to use, but I've been experimenting with some cheap Walmart craft paint that has given me some rather decent results on my plastic freight cars. However, that doesn't mean I will use craft paint on an engine! (* I have heard nothing but complete bad about the HM #4200 model, but I'm just throwing it up there just to fill in space)

    Now, about the decals....I have had literally no luck at all finding some Frisco steam decals. I'm not trying to look for the 'gold pinstripes and letters' version, I'm trying to find the regular white numbers and letters. At the time when I ordered my caboose, I saw Oddballs decals and figured that he was still making them which made me think that finding decals would be no problem. Turns out I was completely wrong about that. So now, I'm left in the dust with no way of finding any decals, and I haven't been able to make a custom sheet because I don't know what the proper font was for the 'FRISCO' on the cab and the tender numbers.

    Other than those two, I think I should be in an okay position. Also, one more question; does anyone know where I can find info about what trains hauled what specific consists at specific locations? For example, "Frisco used their #4400 Mountains near a Mobile, Alabama branch to haul oil tankers inland". Not saying that that's an actual scenario, but something similar.

    Thank y'all so much!!!
    Sirfoldalot likes this.
  2. yardmaster

    yardmaster Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    Couple o' ways to go about this:

    If you have a specific question about a specific locomotive class in a specific locale, go ahead and fire away. Someone here should be able to give a "yea" or "nay."

    Another way to see about where a particular class of locomotive could have operated in a particular location is by reviewing some of the many Employee Timetables at

    Keith Robinson has done a bang-up job of arranging and posting many of these. Any pre-1952 ETTs would have bridge classifications listed by branch/subdivision/division along with a table showing the corresponding bridge classifications for the steam fleet.

    Finally - and potentially the most fun way to go about it - is to just start looking at photos and piecing together what locomotives operated and where.

    Best Regards,
    Sirfoldalot and WindsorSpring like this.
  3. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

  4. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    I would avoid the Hallmark 4200. I won't go into detail, but just say avoid it. The other two are fine.
  5. Brad Slone

    Brad Slone Member Supporter

    Brass Trains have a pair of Key 4000 series light mikes that can be made into nice Frisco engine. When they go on sale they can be had at a fairly descent price

    Brad Slone
  6. magistrate

    magistrate Member

    Hi Don,

    What is wrong with the Hallmark 4200's? Is it the details or the running qualities?

    Thank you,

    Sirfoldalot likes this.
  7. Skyview

    Skyview Member

    Unless you like spending lots of money to make it run nice and look more "Frisco" like, then go ahead but it the others are worth your while.
  8. frisco1522

    frisco1522 Staff Member Staff Member

    Short answer. YES! Very inaccurate, crappy running gear and castings falling off. It was an early Dong Jin model. Even his good stuff left something to be desired.
  9. Brad Slone

    Brad Slone Member Supporter

    I've heard of instances were the insulation on the drivers has failed. This is very difficult to fix, sometimes it can't be fixed at all.

    Brad Slone
  10. BigRedCaboose

    BigRedCaboose Member

    So sorry to post such a late response in the thread!!! Kinda got sidetracked....

    Anyway, I've been digging into the 4200 HM engines, and yeah, I've heard some real horror stories about it. It's really a shame because the 4200 class really appeals to me, and it's unfortunate that it has such an inferior model to match the prototype.

    Anywho, I'm putting a serious consideration into adding a #4400 class 4-8-2 on my roster. If you want to exclude all of the Tyco diesel engines that can't even pull its own weight, and a Bachmann USRA 0-6-0 that has a shell located somewhere in Timbuktu, this is basically my first real engine. I'm optimistic about potentially super-detailing this engine, and thanks to y'all's archive of the locomotive photos, I can get nitty-gritty into exact hardware and details.

    However, I have a couple of other questions, first; how does one remove some old tooling that doesn't match a prototype? For example, if I were to model after #4420 using the OMI model, there appears to be some tooling on the engineers' side of the smokebox that the real life locomotive never really appeared to have. If it's just a simple de-solder and removal, I believe I can do it. On the other hand, if it requires cutting and refitting, then I don't want to risk damaging the model for a small detail.

    Second, I know I stated this is in my original post, but are there any other decent alternatives to painting engines aside from big names such as Floquil? I'm not disdaining Floquil, I'm just trying to look for something that can be much easier to obtain.

    I also know that, while this is an oddly specific question, what size are the numbers that are applied to the tender + domes? After having no luck finding any dedicated Frisco decals still, I've found that using generic railroad fonts such as Gothic condensed for the 'FRISCO' lettering on the cab, and Railroad Roman for the numbering looks like a somewhat decent alternative as well. It will probably look similar to what 1630 has for her lettering and numbering. Microscale lists sizes such as 1/8" or 16" scale, but I'm still not sure which one would be a more accurate size.

    I apologize for asking a ton of questions, it's just that it feels nice to ask questions to people that actually have a clue as to what I'm asking about!
  11. klrwhizkid

    klrwhizkid Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporter

    For working with brass and brass details, I believe if you don't have a resistance soldering system, you will run into trouble. Take that from a voice of experience. Don Wirth may confirm my assertion, but I would defer to his opinion because he is the real Master Craftsman when it comes to working with brass.
    Ozarktraveler likes this.
  12. Karl

    Karl 2008 Engineer of the Year Supporter

    My brother has some Champ white and gold steam sets that he would sell. Send your email address via PM and I will forward it to him.

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